1. Archive

Tours pack a modest price

Published Oct. 12, 2005

For travelers who prefer organized or package tours of Europe to the independent travel outlined by Terry Redding on page 1E, here are some tips on lower prices:

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines has new winter fares to Europe and Israel, good for travel 'til April 7. The fare structure is based upon a three-zone structure within Europe. Round-trip fares from New York: $475 to all destinations in Zone 1 (the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Belgium and some cities in France and Spain); $525 to to all destinations in Zone 2 (Austria, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Italy, Morocco, Portugal, Scandinavia and the U.K., plus cities in Spain and France); $675 to Zone 3 (Finland, Greece, Russia, Turkey and Israel).

KLM also offers "Europe On-The-Double" packages, a two-night, Amsterdam-only package or a four-night Europe package featuring two nights in Amsterdam and two nights in either London, Paris, Rome or Vienna. Extra nights are available. All programs include round trip trans-Atlantic airfare and intra-European airfare where applicable. Prices, including accommodations, start at $489 for the two-night Amsterdam-only package, $629 for two nights in Amsterdam and two in London or Vienna, $659 for the Amsterdam-Paris combination and $679 for Amsterdam-Rome. All prices are based on double occupancy, breakfast daily, taxes included. KLM flies from nine U.S. cities, including Orlando and Atlanta.

Swissair has a special economy fare to Switzerland. Tickets must be purchased by Oct. 31, with travel now through May 31. The prices are $448 round trip, midweek, from New York, Philadelphia and Boston, $548 round trip, midweek, from Atlanta and Chicago.

British Airways offers dozens of packages including group and nonescorted tours, plus dozens more options to customize your itinerary through Europe, the British Isles, parts of the former Soviet Union and South Africa. When passengers pay for their trip before Oct. 31, for travel between Nov. 1 and March 31, 1993, a $100 discount can be applied to land options. Typical eight-day guided tour, including air, hotel, breakfasts and some dinners, starts at $986, based on double occupancy. The airline even has a three-night London special, with travel one-way on the Concorde and return in business class, starting at $4,450, based on double occupancy; round trip on the Concorde would be $600 more. British Air flies from 16 U.S. cities, including Orlando, Miami and Atlanta. Phone (800) AIR-WAYS.

Air France is offering three free days' use of a compact car, through March 1993, for every two trans-Atlantic tickets sold, with some restrictions. The deal is valid in Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Belgium and Greece.

Lufthansa German Airlines is offering a Winter Value Guides brochure, with information on events, tour and city packages, the German Rail Pass and free auto rentals. The airline flies from American cities, including Miami. Write to Lufthansa/GNTO, P.O. Box 9024, East Setauket, NY 11733-9894; (800) FLY-LUFT.

Two of the largest tour operators to Europe are offering short-stay specials to London, from November through March:

Trafalgar Tours (800 722-0695) has a three-day "London Long Weekend" that includes airfare from New York, hotel and three-day London Visitor Travelcard pass, starting at $475. A six-night "London Week" includes a show ticket and discount coupons and starts at $639.

Globus-Gateway (800 221-0090) is cutting the price of its "Week in London" package from $680 to $530, excluding airfare but including seven nights' hotel and breakfasts, plus a theater ticket and discount coupons. The nine-day "Britain Sampler" is $681, down from $801, and includes travel into the Lake District, Scotland and the Cotswolds, plus breakfasts and some dinners.

Trafalgar is also likely to reduce prices for such packages as its "European Whirl," a 16-day trip through London, Italy, France and Amsterdam. A brochure is due out in November.

Collette Tours (800 832-4656), which conducts a $1,499, 16-day tour of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales, offers virtually the same tour for $400 less in March and November.

Between November and March, the Netherlands Board of Tourism offers a special Amsterdam Winter package that allows travelers to choose from among 27 hotels in five classes. There are also large discounts on museums, public transportation and cultural events. Call the board in New York at (212) 370-7360 for details.

The Russian Travel Bureau Inc., an American company, has announced an eight-day tour to Moscow and St. Petersburg, with a stopover in Helsinki, starting at $899 from New York. That includes air fare. Call (800) 847-1800.

Portugal, no longer a cheap destination, also has some great off-season deals. For example, on November departures, Sun Holidays (800 243-2057) travelers get a full month in the Torralta Apartments on the Algarve coast. The cost is $938 per person, including air fare from New York. Equally good deals are available for apartments in other coastal resorts in Spain and Portugal _ Costa del Sol, Cascais, Madeira _ between October and May.